Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Watching "24"

One of the perks of working in the video rental biz is, as you might suspect, free samples.

As an employee of my particular corporation, I get 5 free rentals a week.

We've been watching pretty faithfully. Before Christmas, we got hooked on the FOX series, "24." We sat through every episode on DVD. The show has gotten tons of critical acclaim the last three years, though this year it's taking some heat for being so politically incorrect as to portray the terrorists trying to destroy the world as--gasp!--Middle Eastern Islamic extremists.

The first season had some great moments, but the show has gone incrementally downhill. As far as I am concerned, it jumped the shark in the third season when the hero murdered his boss. That was it for me.

The idea of doing a television show in real time is interesting, but quickly exhausted. Like far too many series, "24" was allowed to keep pushing beyond what should have been the end of the line. No, the show seems to be committed to leaving a legacy of embarrassment.

Seeing nearly every episode, not over the course of four years, but in just three or four months,makes the repetition of plot devices obvious. In nearly every season, there's a mole, someone working for the terrorists, inside CTU, the counter terrorism unit where our hero, Jack Bauer, works or maybe doesn't work, I can't really keep that straight. For an organization devoted to our national security, the security at CTU seems pretty lax. Apparently anybody with a smile and malevolent intent will be hired there to process ceaseless reams of sensitive data.

Every season has the same premise. A terrorist group is about to attack. CTU has one day to find the bad guys and stop them. Then, we watch tough guy Bauer blast, slam and muscle his way through their defenses for the rest of the day. It's a great premise for a season, but for four. I don't think so.

When this season ends, the producers really need to call it a day.

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